A Taste of Responsibility
Jack O'Neill preferred living on the shores of some tributary where, even on a clear night, all you could hear was the soothing sounds of water coursing over rocks, or swirling in and around branches and trees caught on slowly eroding banks. For Jack, life was all about peace and quiet, and having a modicum of control over his environment. Leafy and Victorian, was how Paul Davis described Georgetown, Washington D.C., when instead trendy and vibrant was more the case. And somewhere over to the left, past the neatly planned rows of glass-fronted apartment blocks that rose to shelter the cultural center of the city, was the Potomac River and its promise of tranquility.
The night air was crisp and carried the music from a party three floors below directly up to his balcony. Jack sighed and slugged back the last mouthful of whiskey in his glass, blowing out his cheeks in time with the heat from the aged malt as it hit the back of his throat. The bottle was a birthday present from Daniel, and represented the last time they had been together. Work was work, and despite Jack's occasional misgivings over just which path his career had wandered down, and the promise of eventual retirement by Daniel, it seemed the Stargate was still playing handball with their lives.
Jack stepped back off the balcony and into his over-spacious living room with its fake fireplace that belted out enough warmth to fill his far too modern apartment. And yet the place still felt cold. Something was missing. Was always missing.
His cell phone buzzed on the side table by the sofa, and even from a few feet away Jack could clearly see the name of the caller on the screen. He was tempted to let it go through to message bank.
"What!" he said barking into the phone in frustration, and then quickly gathered himself. "This had better be good, Caplan."
"Sorry, sir," came the very serious sounding voice of Jack's head of security. "A package arrived after you'd left for the day. We were given strict instructions to deliver it straight to you."
"You're at my front door, aren't you?"
"Which means I have to let you in."
"That would be helpful, sir. I could leave the package if you'd like but--"
"No. Don't... do that! The last time you left something, the old lady in apartment 12 called in the bomb disposal squad and put the whole building on lockdown."
"Sorry about that."
"You did scan it, right?"
"No, Caplan, the old lady in 12. Of course the package!"
"The, ah, contents have been cleared by security."
Jack ended the call and headed to the door, quickly abandoning his plans for an early night when he opened it to reveal Sergeant Caplan holding, or rather propping up, a very tired-looking and clearly injured Daniel Jackson.
"What the hell happened to you?"
"You did," Daniel said wearily as he shrugged off Caplan's steadying hand and shuffled past Jack.
"Me?" Jack dismissed Caplan with a wave and closed the apartment door, pausing in the entrance to watch Daniel slowly ease himself down on to the sofa with one arm hugging his chest.
"Doesn't ring a bell."
"High humidity, dense jungle, nothing for miles, no signs of life, but off the radar when it comes to naquadah readings."
"Ah! I figured Carter would enjoy playing in the dirt for a while."
"Which is generally my job, except my sedimentary testing will only confirm the presence of naquadah, not estimate how much or how refined it is."
Jack closed the living room drapes and made himself comfortable next to Daniel, who coughed and rested his head on the back of the sofa. "So, you getting injured is my fault how?"
"I thought we took care of that little problem?"
"We did. And we didn't."
"Why am I not going to like this?"
Daniel tried to turn more fully towards Jack but ended up wincing in pain as his right arm rode up the side of his ribs. "The initial UAV scan from three years earlier didn't extend far enough to detect a small city about forty clicks from the gate. We stepped out of the gate and right into an ambush."
"They were waiting for you?"
"That is the definition of an ambush."
"Daniel," Jack cautioned. "They had to be forewarned to be sitting that far from home."
Daniel shrugged off the insinuation of a possible leak within the SGC or its allies with a rolling of his eyes, as though the suggestion wasn't worth mentioning. "We did the same thing on Abydos, if you remember. Nagada was miles from the gate, but the possibility of something... or someone coming through--"
"Yeah, yeah. Not the answer I was looking for."
"We all went down. All of us except Vala."
"When you say down..."
"The gate sits in a clearing, bounded three hundred and sixty degrees by a thick forest. They got us the moment the gate shut down. Clubs, rocks, all primitive stuff, but when you don't know you're about to be hit--"
"You make for the easiest of targets. So, why not Vala?"
"P2Y-127 fell to the Ori, only we didn't even know there was a population there to begin with."
"No reason to go back."
"Right. The villagers were desperate for all the basics, so when the Ori came through sprouting their usual rhetoric, they traded the only god they had known, in this case Zipacna, for a new one that promised full bellies and good crops in return for their blind faith."
"Doesn't explain Vala, though."
"They recognized her as the mother of the Orici. Simple as that. The attack stopped and about twenty men stepped out from the treeline and went down on their knees in reverence."
Jack had seen this before. Not in relation to the Ori, but definitely in the earlier years of the Stargate program, when news of the Tau'ri defeat of Ra, and subsequent System Lords, made them a symbol of freedom and veneration. He had found it all a bit embarrassing at the time, but it didn't take seeing too many totally subjugated peoples suddenly faced with a life free of oppression and slavery to understand this type of reaction.
"And she managed to stop them from killing us." Daniel shrugged his good shoulder. "The clan leader told her the Prior gave them the usual spiel about destroying those who reject the path to enlightenment, showing no mercy to the enemy, divine judgment, light and dark, all the usual stuff. And that only those who came through the holy ring in the presence of a Prior were allowed to live."
"Which included the mother of the Orici."
"Adria never gave up trying to turn Vala towards the teachings of Origin."
So, with the end of the war with the Ori, Jack had tasked the SGC to send teams back to some of the more naquadah-promising worlds in order to get their ship building project back on track. More ships meant better defenses against whatever the galaxy threw at them next. The Ori had turned 127 towards Origin without Earth even know there was a population to begin with. How many other worlds had gone the same way?
"Will sorry help?" Jack tried to say it playfully, only it came off sounding lame. "I can say it like I mean it."
"You don't have to apologize for doing your job."
"No, but I'd like to." Jack moved off the sofa and knelt in front of Daniel, placing his hands on Daniel's knees. "Let's call it working towards forgiveness." He reached for Daniel's fly and pulled it slowly down, looking up at Daniel as though he was peering over the rim of a pair of imagined glasses.
"Two busted ribs, mild concussion, welts and bruising. I figured Lam would release you tomorrow, but I guess you decided you needed to be somewhere else."
"I always know when you're hurting, Daniel. Can't stop you from going through the gate, can't stop you from getting injured, but I know when to kiss it all better." Jack tugged the front of Daniel's briefs down and released his already stiffening cock, bending down to give the head a teasing lick once... twice, and smiling at the soft moan he got from Daniel. Saltiness and sweat and Daniel's musky scent were the fuel Jack needed after an absence that had stretched into months instead of the usual few weeks. The protests of his knees was ignored as he worked Daniel's pants down to his ankles, cupping his balls and working his tongue in a slow circle around Daniel's cock head. The taste of him was both new and old, and familiar.
He felt the moment Daniel gave into what he was feeling. The slackening of tense thigh muscles that allowed Daniel’s legs to be spread just that little bit wider, giving Jack more access. He continued to mouth the head, tongue rubbing against the glans just the way he knew Daniel liked. Glancing up, he saw that Daniel’s head had fallen back against the back of the sofa again, his mouth making a perfect ‘o’. Daniel’s happy place.
He couldn’t mend broken bones or salve Daniel’s sore flesh, but he could help him forget the pain, at least for a little while. Reaching behind Daniel’s balls, he used two fingers to gently rub his taint, firm strokes that allowed a blunt nail to graze the edge of his puckered entrance. Daniel’s moan deepened in response, and Jack knew that was his cue to give the man his pleasure. Jack held his buttocks firmly now, giving himself the leverage to take Daniel in further, swallowing him to the root, sheathing him in warm, wet heat and let his throat muscles contract around the leaking head. ‘Let go’ Jack commanded inside his own head, as he felt that moment of hesitation from Daniel whenever he deep throated the man. Jack sucked harder, pulling Daniel’s orgasm from him as he greedily swallowed the hot seed. Daniel whined softly as Jack pulled back, his lips maintaining a firm hold to clean Daniel of their mess. He’d be damned if he left any evidence for his very sweet, yet very nosy cleaning lady to find. She would want details…
Jack rested Daniel’s cock along his thigh, taking a moment to collect himself. He nosed the limp flesh impishly before kissing the shaft.
“That was…” Daniel started and left the rest of the sentence unsaid.
“Yeah,” Jack croaked. "So, am I forgiven?"
"Not quite. I've got a long list of hurts that need fixing."